Shared office unicorn URWork has just closed another round of funding, with Beijing Aikang Group injecting RMB 200 million ($29.4 million) into the startup that aims to be China’s answer to WeWork, the company announced this week.
The latest cash infusion adds to previous funding rounds that have totalled RMB 1.2 billion ($175 million), as the fast-growing company backed by mainland VC heavyweights Sequoia Capital China and Zhen Fund starts to build up a global presence.
Beijing Conglomerate Gives URWork a Boost
Mao Daqing, the former Vanke executive who founded URWork in 2015, commented that the strategic investment from the Beijing-based health care, hospitality and real estate conglomerate meshed well with his company’s ambitions.
The “investment is the forerunner of a series of facility and service upgrading at URWork and we will continue to complement our existing platform facilities and resources with targeted health hospitality real estate, and contingent resources in shared working space sector,” Mao said in a statement.
The funding from Beijing Aikang, also known as Beijing Love & Health Group, marks the latest corporate bet on URWork from outside of the usual venture capital and private equity sources. This past May, Beijing Xingpai, a sporting goods manufacturer and property developer best known for its pool tables, injected RMB 400 million ($58 million) each into URWork and Mao’s co-working/co-living hybrid 5LMeet.
In addition these corporate backers, and finance firms such as Sequoia and Zhen Fund, URWork’s investors include Sinovation Ventures and Tianhong Asset Management, an affiliate of Alibaba’s Ant Financial. This past April, URWork agreed to a strategic merger with its biggest rival New Space to create a co-working giant with a network of nearly 100 centres across mainland China and a market valuation of RMB 9 billion ($1.31 billion).
Mainland Co-Working Unicorn Aims for Global Expansion
The new funding will come in handy as the shared office startup makes its first forays into overseas markets. URWork last month announced a soft opening in Singapore for its first overseas foothold, and will unveil its first US location in New York City later this month. The Beijing flexible office firm has plans to open another location in Los Angeles in the fourth quarter of this year, Mao recently told Mingtiandi in an exclusive interview.
URWork, which plans to launch another 150 locations across 32 cities worldwide over the next three years, has recently landed e-commerce giant Amazon as a corporate member at its Shenzhen centre.